01 May Pitch No More
When I started researching the word “pitch”, for the purposes of writing this blog, I entered a rabbit’s hole, where I discovered that a pitch could be so many things, and therefore had so many definitions, apart from the one that I had in mind. The most popular definitions are the ones applied to the fields of music, baseball, machinery and aeronautics. To my amazement, I had to scroll almost to the bottom of the page to find the definition that I was looking for, as applied to the field of marketing and public relations. I was deluded by my assumption that one of the obvious definitions for “pitch”(a form of words used when trying to persuade someone to buy or accept something) would be within the first three choices in the definition list provided by the Oxford Dictionary.
This made me start to wonder about the use of the term pitch in marketing and public relations, and why it is time for PR and marketing professionals to stop “pitching” and start “collaborating”. The mental image that I conjure up when I think about “pitching” in terms of business is one of me being at the receiving end of a pitch from Chewbacca (as in the image above, and yes I’m a huge Star Wars fan). It is indeed a scary prospect, a situation that I cannot expect to come out from, unscathed. Would I want to subject someone to a similar predicament? NO.
It is time to retire the “elevator pitch” and the “sales pitch” because it is not representative of good business practices, at least not in the 21st century, thanks to social media. Efforts should be made to communicate the benefits of your brand or services, rather than selling them. In a previous blog post, I had written about the need for story telling and why it has become ever more important to do so in today’s digital global economy. A “pitch” symbolizes one-way, aggressive behaviour, something that is completely detrimental to the success of your business. The very idea of a pitch is just painful, but the idea of a story is endearing, it fills one with expectation, with wonder and with amazement, once the story is conveyed well; hear Tom Peters say it in this short video.
So here’s how you should “ditch the pitch” and start storytelling.The next time you come across a seminar or a presentation that promises to teach you how to write the “perfect pitch”, think about what you will end up perfecting, and I will see you at a seminar where you can learn to tell a good story! There is a valid reason for why the word pitch in the Oxford Dictionary is not one of the first 3 definitions.
by: Sohini Bhattacharya (Co-Founder & Partner, Allegoro Communications)